Periodontitis occurs when inflammation or infection of the gums (gingivitis) occurs and is not treated. Infection and inflammation caused by plaque buildup spreads from the gums (gingiva) to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. Loss of support causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults.
Review Date 10/20/2020
Updated by: Michael Kapner, DDS, Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.